The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: Decoding Disney: Planning Our Trip as a Beginner
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Decoding Disney: Planning Our Trip as a Beginner

When I was a kid, my family's trips to Disney were some of the most memorable times in my childhood. Maybe it's me, but I get all swept up in the magic... So I have been waiting for the right time to take my kids - when they would remember this expensive trip and could actually do a lot of the most popular attractions.

This spring break, we made *my dream* come true, but not without a lot of planning to make sure I got my money's worth we got our money's worth. Honestly, Nate and I joke about how you could take a whole class on Disney park essentials. THERE. IS. SO. MUCH.

Here is how I planned our Disney vacation with limited time and funds.

1. Do NOT re-invent the wheel. 
There are so many people who have already gotten Disney down to a science so I  definitely leaned on their knowledge - including one of Nate's coworkers who is a Disney pro - whom we texted while at the parks if we had questions.

Aladdin's carpets!

Here are some of the most helpful Disney travel blogs that I referred to over and over as I planned our trip:

The Disney Tourist:
- Best Rides in Magic Kingdom
- Best Rides in Animal Kingdom
- Best Rides in Epcot
- Ride Height Requirements

All Good in Mommyhood:
- Wait Less at Magic Kingdom

I'm actually pretty impressed with myself and my planning for our Animal Kingdom day.

2. Do NOT visit during peak times. 
We did (spring break) and the crowds were unbelievable. Your time of year also determines your ticket price. We still had a blast, but next time we will come during the "off season". This is a joke, because I don't think there is a Disney off season haha

But here is a good look at peak times for the parks to help you plan your trip:
Undercover Tourist: Peak times at Disney

3. Save money by staying off of the Disney property. 
Initially I was actually kind of bummed about this, but by the time we planned our trip (maybe 1 month ahead) EVERYTHING was booked on the Disney property. We actually ended up in an amazing 3 bedroom AirBnB for a fraction of what we would have paid at Disney that was 15 minutes away from the parks with traffic. It had a great view, pool, and gym so we didn't miss a beat. The perks of Disney property would be easier access to the parks (by bus or tram), round the clock meal service availability, and of course, being in the Disney magic 24/7. Maybe one day when I'm an attending... hahaha

4. Bring grandparents. 
Well on my budget they brought us...LOL My parents were in the park trenches with us, and we had a blast! This was clutch for having a back up plan if we were headed to a scary ride so that Nate and I didn't have to miss out.

Nate and I also went back out to Epcot after everyone else was exhausted from our day at Animal Kingdom. If you are traveling with little ones, the Park Hopper may be an unnecessary expense unless you have a sitter, because our kids were over it after one park. 

5. Download the DisneyGo app as soon as you get your tickets. 
It not only links your whole groups' tickets, it helps you get fast passes quickly, can manage dinner reservations, has park ours, can be your park map + itinerary, and helps you keep up with attraction wait times. They really did a great job with this...

6. Read up on Fast Passes and BOOK THEM EARLY. 
Below is a link to an explanation of Fast Passes, but not only is it nice to not have to wait in the long lines, but no matter how "mature" your child, Fast Passes help them not be so miserable. I think you can reserve them up to 30 days ahead of your trip. You get three in advance per day and then when you use those up, you can add them one at a time per person.

It works out best if you start with fast passes grouped earlier in the day.

Fastpass FAQs

We had an amazing spring break. But knowing what I know now, I can't wait to get us back and make our next trip even more memorable!

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